Farms man stabbed at home during Sunday attack

Suspect or suspects still at large as investigation continues

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 8, 2016

 Yellow police tape and vehicles were used to cordon off an area around Voltaire Place and Vendome Road in Grosse Pointe Farms March 6 after a local resident was assaulted with a sharp object and found bleeding and severely injured on the sidewalk.

Yellow police tape and vehicles were used to cordon off an area around Voltaire Place and Vendome Road in Grosse Pointe Farms March 6 after a local resident was assaulted with a sharp object and found bleeding and severely injured on the sidewalk.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A stabbing on a quiet Grosse Pointe Farms street left one of its residents clinging to life as police began trying to piece together what happened on an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon.

Yellow police tape and police cars with flashing lights cordoned off roughly a block in the area of Voltaire Place and Vendome Road for hours after a man was discovered bleeding profusely and lying on the sidewalk by a female passerby, who immediately called police around 4:30 p.m. March 6. 

The victim, later identified as 69-year-old Farms resident Daniel Clancy, was still conscious but grievously injured, having sustained stab wounds to the neck after an unknown assailant attacked him. He was rushed to St. John Hospital and Medical Center nearby, where he remained in critical condition at press time. Farms Public Safety Detective Lt. Richard Rosati said the medical professionals at the hospital “are amazing,” and if Clancy survives, it will be due in no small part to the surgery performed on him after he arrived.

Police followed a blood trail back to Clancy’s home on Voltaire Place, but while they believe whatever transpired between Clancy and his attacker took place both inside and outside of the house, little else is known about what happened. Public Safety Director Daniel Jensen said at press time that police don’t know whether Clancy was the victim of one attacker or more than one attacker, or whether his attacker/attackers were intent on robbing him. 

“We still don’t know for sure what precipitated this,” Jensen said. “We do have some tips and leads that we’re following up on.”

Because murders and attempted murders are rare in the Farms — Jensen said the city hasn’t had one since 1980 — they immediately called the Michigan State Police for assistance, and the MSP sent two detectives who conducted interviews with Farms police while a five-person team of evidence collection specialists got to work combing the scene.

Jensen said there were no signs of forced entry at Clancy’s house, and no one else was in the house when the attack occurred. Police don’t know if his attacker was with him, had followed him home from another location, or had been hiding inside the house and lying in wait, he said.

A couple of residents addressed the Farms City Council during a meeting the evening of March 7, expressing concerns about the lack of immediate information coming from the Public Safety Department in the wake of this incident. Bridget Christian, a mother of two young children, asked about the city’s policy with regard to the use of online Nixle alerts, which have been issued before in public safety and other community matters, such as emergency road closures.

“We will put out a Nixle alert when there’s an imminent threat to our residents’ safety,” Jensen said at the meeting. “In this particular case, we knew in a matter of minutes what we had and what we were looking at, and we knew there was no imminent threat to our residents.”

The city did eventually issue a Nixle alert, but not until the afternoon of March 7, almost 24 hours after the attack occurred. 

Bill Vogel, another parent and Farms resident, said some neighbors told him they were advised to “shelter in place” by police, an advisory Jensen said was never issued by his department.

“The communication to residents was sparse and contradictory. … I feel my family was potentially in danger,” said Vogel, who had been working with his children on a project in the yard around the time of the assault.

The violent attack has the community on edge, but Jensen said evidence collected so far doesn’t suggest that the community at large is in danger. He said they would put out an alert as quickly as possible if they felt it was necessary, but believing there wasn’t a threat to the general populace and not wanting to create a panic or bring crowds of onlookers to the scene, they opted not to do so in this case.

“We don’t believe it was random at this point,” Jensen said.

Jensen said he couldn’t elaborate further because the case remained under investigation and police were still tracking down leads.

“We had 10 investigators on the scene for 12 hours,” said Jensen, noting that some of his officers didn’t go home until around 5 a.m. Monday, March 7. “We were inundated with evidence that we are still processing and going through.”

City Councilman Louis Theros defended the Public Safety Department’s actions.

“I have never seen our police act to the detriment of our citizens to protect our brand (as a city),” he said. “We act on the best interests of our citizens, and I think our officers do too.”

City Councilman Joe Ricci said he has children and grandchildren who live near the scene of the attack.

“It was pretty scary for three, four hours,” he said. “Everyone imagines the worst. My phone didn’t stop ringing.”

Police are trying to put together what happened March 6 and find the person or people responsible for this crime. They have been canvassing the neighborhood for possible surveillance footage that could help in the case, Rosati said. 

Jensen said police didn’t recover a weapon at the scene, so it’s not known what was used to stab Clancy or whether the attacker brought the weapon or picked up a sharp implement at the house.

Clancy is an acclaimed interior designer who has worked all over the country. He was one of the designers who created rooms for the 2012 and 2014 Junior League of Detroit Designers’ Show Houses.

The public safety departments of Grosse Pointe City, Park, Shores and Woods all offered their assistance if needed, Jensen said.

Anyone with more information about this case is asked to call the Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety Department at (313) 885-2100.